Brazil's agriculture minister said Tuesday that the country must import 200,000 tons of black beans, a staple of Brazilians' diet that is getting scarce and consequently expensive as a result of the fierce drought.

Antonio Andrade said the government has therefore decided to temporarily eliminate import tariffs on the beans, with the goal of guaranteeing supply without pushing the price any higher.

"We plan to import some 200,000 tons between now and the end of October," Andrade said, blaming the black bean shortage on the intense drought in regions where they are grown.

Andrade acknowledged there are few countries that can supply Brazil, and among them mentioned Argentina, China and Mexico.

The decision to eliminate import tariffs also coincides with government plans to control inflation, which in the first five months of the year surged 2.88 percent.

The drop in black bean production caused by the drought has made the price shoot up, increasing by 23.39 percent in the month of May alone, according to official figures. EFE